What Is A Cord Of Wood? Firewood Fundamentals

Post Updated: 26 Feb 2023

If you are looking to buy firewood, you may have heard terms such as a ‘cord’ or ‘rick’ of wood being used. Generally firewood isn’t sold in logs but in a specific bulk or weight that is widely accepted the world over.

Many people assume a cord and a rick of wood are the same thing since they are often used interchangeably when referring to a stack of firewood – especially in the midwest.

There are also other terms used such as full cord, bush cord, face cord, half cord, stove cord, ranks and racks – so it’s important to know exactly what these terms mean if you’re looking to buy firewood. So, what size is a cord of wood?

A full cord of wood measures 4x4x8 feet or 128 cubic feet – a rick is an unspecific term for a pile of wood or hay, but is often considered the same as a face cord


What is a cord of firewood? Why is it called a cord?

One full cord of firewood

A full cord of firewood is a stack of logs that measures 8 feet wide, 4 feet deep and 4 feet high. It’s called a cord of wood because the old method used to bind the logs together was with cords of rope. A full cord of firewood usually consists of three stacks of 16 – 18 inch logs – the standard size for cut firewood.

A face cord is one third of a full cord – one stack of 16 – 18 inch logs, 8 feet wide and 4 feet high, and is sometimes referred to as a rick:

Face cord of wood

A bush cord is the same as a full cord – its just another term used in some areas of the US. A stove cord is the same VOLUME as a full cord (8x4x4ft) but the logs are cut to 12 inches to fit smaller stoves and log burners.

The important thing to remember when you’re buying firewood is clarify with the seller what kind of cord you are buying.

How much does a cord of wood weigh?

The average weight of a cord of wood will vary depending on a number of factors. Some of these include how dry the wood is, the type of wood, and how seasoned the wood is. But for a ball park figure, a basic cord of wood will generally weigh somewhere between 2000 to 3000 lbs.

The following list provides typical examples of weight per cord of specific types of firewood (in pounds per seasoned cord):

  • Oak, White: 2,890 to 3,720
  • Alder: 2,000 to 2,500
  • Sycamore: 2,380 to 3,070
  • Douglas Fir: 2,390 to 3,065
  • Maple, Big Leaf: 2,340 to 2,990
  • Dogwood: 3,120 to 4,015

How long will a cord of wood last in a fireplace?

There are so many variables involved to answer this question with any degree of accuracy: How big is your home? How many fireplaces/wood burners/stoves are you using and what kind are they? What type of wood are you burning? How cold is it where you live? Etc… Wood consumption can vary dramatically depending on all these factors.

Burning time for a cord of wood

The best way to define how long a cord of wood will last is to go by your type of fireplace or stove. For a large open fireplace that has no air restriction devices installed you can expect a full cord to last 7 days of continuous burning.

Non-catalytic wood stoves can make a cord of wood last from 30 to 60 days, where super-efficient catalytic wood stoves could potentially utilise a full cord of wood for a whole season.

Related Article: Is it ok to leave firewood uncovered?

Clearly, keeping a fire going all day and night will eat into your wood a lot quicker than the occasional fire every few days so really, the amount of wood you need will greatly depend on your own habits and heating requirements.

Will a cord of wood last all winter?

If you think about a full day of burning logs in the winter, how many do you use? 20, 25? A full cord will contain VERY roughly around 720 pieces of wood (240 pieces for a face cord x 3) so lets say you burn 25 logs per day in your fire – that equates to 29 days of firewood.

This is a very rough example but it should give you something to base your own specific heating requirements on.

Even at this estimate, it’s reasonable to assume that a cord of firewood can last a whole month, maybe a little more but its very unlikely that one cord of wood will last through the whole winter season no matter how efficient your fire is.

Can a cord of wood fit in a pickup?

Can a pickup hold a cord of wood? A full cord of wood is a lot of wood, and can weigh anywhere between 2000 to 5000 pounds depending on the type of wood (hardwood or softwood) and the moisture content (seasoned or green wood).

Pickup truck full of firewood

Even if you have a 8ft x 6ft bed that COULD theoretically fit a full cord (8x4x4ft) if it was packed tight, no pickup is capable of transporting a full cord of wood. If your delivery arrives in the back of a pickup – it ain’t no full cord of wood!

How much does a cord of wood cost?

In 2023 the price of wood has gone up quite dramatically. Back at the start of 2020 – before all the madness – a full cord of wood was around $300. Now you’re looking at around $600 on average, depending on the type of wood (hardwood or softwood) and your location.

Hardwood is more expensive than softwood and fully seasoned firewood has a higher price point also. Add the delivery costs which is normally $2 per mile and you’re talking $640 for a cord of wood delivered from 20 miles away.

Of course this can fluctuate depending on when you buy the wood – firewood will be cheaper in spring and summer so its more cost effective to stock up during these seasons so you’re ready for winter.

How to avoid getting burned when buying firewood

As we’ve discussed, there are several terms used to describe a cord of wood and these can vary depending on which part of the country or world you live. This short video will give you all the information you need to avoid being ripped of when buying a ‘full cord’ of wood to heat your home.

Can you buy a half or quarter cord of wood?

Most timber merchants sell a wide variety of volumes of wood to suit all buyers requirements. Quarter cords and half cords are a common request so you shouldn’t have any problem asking for a half or quarter cord of firewood.


There are quite a lot of terms used when buying or selling firewood so it’s best to have a conversation with the seller before you commit to a purchase. Some wood sellers can be very loose when it comes to bulk loads of firewood.

Amounts such as ‘a pickup full’ or ‘whatever you can fit in your truck’ should be avoided because this can vary greatly depending on how it is packed.

If you are buying a full cord, it should be 4x4x8 feet or 128 cubic feet of firewood. A rick is a bit less specific but is most commonly equivalent to a face cord (one-third of a full cord).

Again, clarifying this with the seller should be your first priority to be sure what you are asking for is what you will end up with.

Thanks for reading, I hope this helps. Drop me a comment below I’d be happy to assist!


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